Sharing Responsibility for un Targeted Sanctions

In: International Organizations Law Review
Antonios Tzanakopoulos Associate Professor of Public International Law, University of Oxford; Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford,

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International organizations often lack operational capacity, but may command significant normative power over States. By contrast, States have organs with significant operational capacity. Adoption of sanctions by the un Security Council under Chapter vii of the un Charter would remain a dead letter without enlisting the capacity of States to implement these measures on the ground. The un and its member States may thus both contribute to a single harmful outcome when sanctions are wrongful. International responsibility for this is shared in practice, as demonstrated by recent developments in domestic and regional international courts: States are held responsible by domestic or regional international courts, and are forced to disobey the Security Council in order to comply with their human rights obligations. In turn, the States put pressure on the Security Council to reform the offending regime, forcing the un to comply with its own international obligations.

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